December 17, 2020
Additional funding will make it easier for people to access supports now
TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing over $147 million to immediately expand access to the provincial mental health and addictions system for people of all ages and address capacity issues in response to COVID-19. This funding builds upon the $176 million provided earlier this year as part of Roadmap to Wellness, the government’s comprehensive plan to deliver high-quality care and build a modern, connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system.
Details were provided today by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“With Ontario in a second wave of COVID-19, and with the holiday season just around the corner, it is critical that we act now to make it easier for people to find and access mental health and addictions services,” said Minister Elliott. “We are supporting our most vulnerable populations, while expanding community-based and virtual and online services to close gaps in care and ensure the right mental health and addictions supports are widely available.”
The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, including prolonged physical distancing, widespread financial uncertainty, and being constantly inundated with new information about the virus, have made life increasingly difficult for many people and families across Ontario, especially among those living with mental health and addictions challenges. With the arrival of the holiday season, this investment will address the increasing demand for services during these difficult times.
Through this investment, the government will add more staff, accommodations, virtual supports, housing and short-term accommodation, and other supports to continue providing safe in-person services where appropriate, including supports specifically for Ontario’s frontline workers. This includes:
In addition, over $51.5 million will go towards a cross-sectoral approach to support vulnerable populations, including but not limited to postsecondary students, First Nations communities, Metis, Inuit and urban Indigenous peoples, Black youth, children and youth in care, LGBTQ youth, people with developmental disabilities, and victims of gender-based violence.
In response to challenges caused by COVID-19, funding will be targeted towards supporting municipal and First Nations police services, as well as the Ontario Provincial Police in accessing innovative and effective virtual training to assist them in handling mental health cases.
“With the New Year quickly approaching, our government recognizes that more needs to be done to ensure that individuals and families are fully supported during these difficult times,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Today’s investment builds on our commitment to increase mental health and addictions support during the COVID-19 outbreak so people of all ages can continue accessing the high-quality care they expect and deserve.”
As part of Ontario’s Fall Preparedness Plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, the funding announced today builds on the $46.75 million in emergency funding for mental health and addiction services provided in the first phase of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Ontario government has invested a total of up to $194 million in its COVID-19 mental health and addictions response.
Ministry of Health